BOSTON, MA - The Devils survived a frantic finish to preserve a 1-0 victory in Boston against the Bruins at TD Bank Garden Sunday night.
Video: NJD@BOS: Blackwood makes 40 saves to blank Bruins
The Bruins twice thought they tied the game in the final 70 seconds of regulation, including with less than 10 seconds remaining. The referees twice had to commence lengthy reviews. And twice, the ruling came out in the Devils' favor.
The most dramatic review came with eight seconds left when a bouncing puck was projecting toward the goal line. Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood stuck his left skate, pushed his way across and managed to use his right skate to kick the puck out of danger within inches of it fully crossing.
"I just saw it dropping there. You push and kick your leg at it as best you can," Blackwood said. "I saw it kind of going in so I was like 'here we go' and give it the best effort that you got."
Devils head coach Lindy Ruff noted that even if the puck had crossed the goal line, it was batted with a high stick by Boston's Charlie McAvoy. So it likely wouldn't have counted anyway. But that doesn't take away from the miraculous save by Blackwood.
"It was an unbelievable move on Blackwood's part," Ruff said. "That's some serious stretching, some serious yoga, some serious control on his part to make sure that he isn't the one that makes it go the rest of the way over the line."
A minute earlier the Bruins also thought they had tied the game when Patrice Bergeron shot a loose puck and scored. However, the reason the puck was loose was because David Krejci jarred it out from under Blackwood's glove.
The call on the ice was a goal. Ruff knew he was going to challenge the play on the grounds of goaltender interference, despite knowing that losing the challenge would result in a 1-1 game the Devils being assessed a penalty.
"Immediately when I saw it, it looked like (Krejci) pitchforked 'Blacky' when he basically had the puck covered," Ruff said. "I said to the other coaches that I'm challenging it for sure. You could be wrong; you could be right. Some of these challenges are really hard. With the way that my goaltender played it was one that you have to challenge."
Blackwood, 24, earned his coach's challenge, and he also earned his first shutout of the season by stopping all 40 shots against. Though he did have to sweat out two replays.
"I've played long enough now to experience calls in the last minute, last seconds go your way or not go your way," he said. "The game is not over until the game is over. You can't get too excited or frustrated. You just have to hang in there in the game until the final buzzer is over."
Blackwood was sure on both occasions the calls would go in the Devils' favor. But he still glanced up at the video screen above to verify.
"I want to see what happened," he said. "I respect the game so if it was the right call, it was the right call. I want to know if it was in or not in. I want to know if I had it covered or didn't have it covered, though I knew I had it covered before they replayed that one. You want to see what happened from a different angle."
Two replays. Two calls in favor of the Devils. Two points in the standings. And one frantic finish.
"I don't get upset or worried about (replays). If they call it a goal, they call it a goal," he said. "I didn't think (either) was. So I think they made a good call. It's out of my control at that point. So you're just sitting there waiting for a call. Fortunately, it was our way tonight, so it was good."